Why Bush Has the Global Edge on Gore

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'Russia: Monica Nostalgia and a Call for Independent Election Monitors'

Moscow Correspondent Andrew Meier:

"Russians are particularly fascinated that this election is so close. Even sober-minded political scientists are talking about the need to have transparency in the vote count, so as to avoid cheating. The Communists this week even bought a resolution into the Duma calling for independent vote monitors to scrutinize the count.

"From Putin's aides on down, nobody's really clear on which candidate would be better for Moscow. Some have argued that it's better to have the Democrats because they're more liberal and believe more in engagement. But then there was a counter argument in the political establishment here that Republicans would be better because they're not bound by the same ideological cobwebs as the Democrats, and because they're pragmatic. But in the last few days, I've seen the same pundits reverse themselves and say a Bush victory would be worse for Putin because he'll be more strict on arms and technology sales, and debt repayment.

"There's no great love of Gore, but a lot of Russians have a lot of affinity for Clinton, especially post-Monica Clinton. But for them Gore still a fuzzy character, and Bush all the more so. The one thing Russians can't fathom about the process is the electoral college. They're as stumped by that one as Americans are."

'India Likes Bush as China Basher. And Hillary. And Nader, Too'

New Delhi contributor Maseeh Rahman:

"The presidential election is not front-page news here, and there's as much focus on it as on Hillary's Senate race. The Clintons are popular here, particularly Hillary since her visit. But it's being reported that New Delhi would be happier if Bush gets elected rather than Gore. They perceive Bush as the more anti-China, and in terms of regional geopolitics that makes him friendlier than Gore toward India. They think that would make Bush less likely than Gore to lean on India to sign the nuclear test-ban treaty. India also opposed linking environmental and labor concerns with trade agreements in WTO negotiations, and they believe that's something Gore would push harder than Bush. Oddly enough then, for these reasons, despite Clinton's initiating a new relationship between India and the U.S., the media isn't quite rooting for Gore.

"The election hasn't generated as much interest this time as previously because the candidates are not so exciting. Ralph Nader is getting a fair amount of exposure, because environmental concerns are popular among ordinary people and also because of his comment that if Gore can't defeat an 'idiot' like Bush, he doesn't deserve to win."

'France Wants Gore — by European Standards, He's a Mainstream Conservative'

Paris correspondent Bruce Crumley:

"The French media is treating this as a kind of cliffhanger political Super Bowl, and interestingly enough, they've actually refrained from the temptation to poke fun at the process. There's very little caricaturing or mocking, although they do refer to George W. Bush all the time as an alcoholic. That seems to be the only excess I've seen.

"Essentially the French are hoping for a Gore victory, because he's closer to what Europeans would consider a mainstream conservative. His policy positions are often to the right of President Jacques Chirac, who is the standard-bearer of French conservatism. More importantly, it's about continuity. They expect that Gore will be like Clinton, and keep the markets happy. They're also worried about foreign policy. Their concern is that under Bush, the isolationist trend in U.S. politics would pick up speed, and there would be a greater likelihood of unilateral actions such as the bombing of Iraq. They're particularly concerned about the possibility of U.S. withdrawal from the Balkans, based on the perhaps ill-founded belief that Bush is more isolationist."

'Disappointed by Clinton and Suspicious of Lieberman, Palestinians Prefer Bush'

West Bank correspondent Jamil Hamad:

"The Palestinian and Arab media are giving saturation coverage to the U.S. election. Some of them are trying to be objective and not take sides, but others are not hiding their sympathy for Bush. One of the main reasons for this is that Gore has picked a Jewish guy to be his vice president. Others are condemning the Clinton administration for its support of Israel. Much of the media is saying Palestinians won't be sad to see the Democrats leave the White House."

'Balkan Nationalists Prefer Bush, to Get the U.S. Off Their Backs'

Belgrade reporter Dejan Anastasijevic in Sarajevo:

"Although people here are more interested in the forthcoming Bosnian vote, the U.S. election remains the top story. Richard Holbrooke was here recently for a visit, and made a good impression. Bosnians like Holbrooke and associate him with the Clinton administration. They're concerned that if Bush comes to power, the U.S. troops may withdraw from the region. And on the other side, the region's Serb and Croatian nationalists hope that Bush wins, because they see him as more isolationist and hope that it will get the U.S. off the back and leave them to start stirring up nationalism again in their home countries and in Bosnia."